Writing Exercise


My favorite thing to teach in creative writing classes is show vs. tell for emotions. This always leads to a really fun game of emotion charades. For this writing prompt, you can use a friend, your kids, or yourself with a mirror.  Pick four or five emotions and list all of the body language traits associated with those emotions. Watch your friends/kids mimic emotions while you guess what they are feeling.

Example - angry.  Their eyebrows form a deep V, they narrow their eyes, they clench their teeth or their fists, they stomp.

Next time you write, instead of saying someone was angry, use these descriptions to depict their emotions.


Detail is an important aspect of any type of writing. Detail makes our sentences powerful and provides description necessary for readers to visualize your words.

Revisit something you have recently written - a FB post, email, report, etc. Find general words like "great" or "a lot" and replace them with a descriptive phrase instead. Why was it great? How much is a lot? If you keep repeating, you can build a very descriptive paragraph.

1. The lunch was great. 

2. The lunch was colorful and delicious, and a lot of friends were there.

3. We had lunch in the kitchen where the table was decorated with colorful zinnias cut fresh from the garden. There was a buffet set up on the island with sandwiches and salads. The pear and walnut salad was delicious, it had an apple cider vinaigrette with a little bit of kick. I had a chance to catch up with a few girls from my old book club and I sat next to a new neighbor who just moved in next door.




Food is all about our senses - how the dish looks, smells, tastes, and feels.  Practice incorporating all of the senses in your writing. Try describing a favorite dinner or lunch that you made. What do the ingredients look like? How did it smell when cooking or eating? How did it feel when you were chopping or pouring or working with the ingredients? What tastes can you pick out and describe? What textures can you pick out and describe either in your mouth or on the plate? How did it sound when you were cooking or biting into it?